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Transcript: Bessie Wash Statement

Interruption on 3/26/2000 Democracy Now! Broadcast

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This is Bessie Wash, executive director of the Pacifica Foundation. It is necessary that I interrupt your regularly scheduled program to speak to those that are being misled by a small group of individuals.

This past weekend, a female employee of the Pacifica station KPFT in Houston, was physically attacked by a man participating in a anti-Pacifica demonstration. This female employee, and the KPFT General Manager were greeting guests as they arrived at the station property for an evening concert, when she was assaulted by a male demonstrator. The man jumped on her back, taunted her, attempted to throw her to the ground, and while this was happening, three other demonstrators just stood by and watched. They did not even attempt to help her, or to do anything to stop this man.

It was a KPFT volunteer who came to her rescue and I want to personally, personally thank this volunteer for his heroic deed.

Friday's attack comes just two weeks after, two weeks, after the general manager, also a female, at our New York station WBAI, who was physically attacked in her own studio. In her own studio. As she sat in front of a mike and attempted to interview a congressman. These last incidents occurred after a series of unreported acts of violence and threats. Racial and sex-baiting intimidation tactics employed by the anti-Pacifica facets (?) throughout this network in all five signal areas: KPFA in Berkeley, WBAI in New York, WPFW in Washington, KPFK in LA and KPFT in Houston.

The (unintelligible) of the anti-Pacifica group have harassed, and are being encourage to continue this campaign of physical and emotional violence on employees, national board members, volunteers as well as their family members. Relatives including young children. Wives, grandparents. Elderly and sickly parents have been subjected to ugly e-mail messages, death threats, late night phone calls, uninvited visits not only at their places of employment but at their homes.

As the originator of listener-supported radio and alternative programming, the Pacifica Foundation remains the only true voice of the voiceless. Pacifica supports free speech and the right to actively assemble. However, we do not, I repeat, do not, condone, nor will we tolerate violence.

If you are a participant in the anti-Pacifica group you have the right to be vigilant in your beliefs but it is not your right, in fact it is illegal, to subject violence on others. It is also immoral and irresponsible to use violence as a method of protest in your attempt to steal the five radio stations funded by individuals that are true believers and supporters of the Pacifica Foundation's mission.

As the executive director of the Pacifica Foundation I am committed to insuring that Pacifica remains an organization that embraces all views, races, sexes and creeds and that the individuals, Pacifica employees, Board members and volunteers dedicated to this belief are free to support Pacifica in the manner in which they choose, without threats to themselves, or their loved ones.

We have thus far tolerated the slander, lies, false accusations, attempts to disrupt daily operations and the strategic effort to create an atmosphere of crisis at Pacifica. But we will not accept violence. All those that are opposed to Pacifica have the right to protest, in a moral and non-violent manner. However, any and all participants that are engaged in violence and threats will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I thank you for your time. We will now resume our regularly scheduled program.

Listen to the audio version

Streaming MP3 32kbps | Download The MP3 557K